Professor Joseph Holden

Professor Joseph Holden


I joined the University of Leeds in 2000, after an undergraduate geography degree at the University of Cambridge (1994-1997) and a PhD in peatland hydrology at Durham University (1997-2000).

I held an Independent NERC Research Fellowship 2002-2005.

In 2007 I became the youngest full professor in the UK at the time. I received the 2007 Philip Leverhulme Prize and the 2011 Gordon Warwick Medal from the British Society for Geomorphology.

I have been Pro-Dean for Research for the Faculty of Environment since 2013 and Director of water@leeds since its formation in 2008.


  • Pro Dean for Research and Innovation
  • Director of water@leeds

Research interests

In my own research I seek to understand the processes associated with the hydrology and carbon dynamics of peatlands under environmental change. I also seek to understand how land management, including agriculture, impacts flowpaths through soils and into watercourses, and also how it impacts on hazard cascades such as flooding, wildfires, pollution, slope stability and drought risk.

I currently have ~£10 million of active grants on which I am a named investigator and I lead the £6M integrated catchment solutions programme (iCASP). Follow my latest publication releases and grant information on twitter at:

My research funders include businesses, government research agencies, government departments, charities and trusts, and philanthropists. Example current projects include:

I am a Chartered Geographer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.

I edit and write for several major textbooks:

PhD studentships

I currently supervise ten PhD students from a wide range of countries including China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Nigeria and the UK. I am happy to supervise talented research postgraduates in my research field. If you would be interested in sponsoring a PhD project to allow talented researchers to fulfil their potential and undertake a PhD then please contact me.

Advisory Boards

I am a member of several advisory boards including:

  • Science Advisory Board, IGB Berlin
  • Science Advisory Board, MS Amlin
  • Yorkshire West Local Nature Partnership
  • Natural Environment Research Council College
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MA Geography, University of Cambridge
  • PhD, University of Durham
  • Chartered Geographer, Royal Geographical Society

Professional memberships

  • Royal Geographical Society
  • Royal Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • European Geosciences Union
  • British Hydrological Society
  • British Society for Geomorphology

Student education

I teach hydrological topics, particularly on the MSc programmes in River Basin Dynamics and Environmental Consultancy.

Research groups and institutes

  • water@leeds
  • River Basin Processes and Management
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>